Three-time Olympic medalist Klete Keller charged in Capitol riot

National/World News

(NEXSTAR/KDVR) — An two-time Olympic gold medalist who calls Colorado home, faces up to five years in federal prison for the three charges he’s facing in connection with the riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.

Klete Keller had a virtual federal court hearing in Colorado Thursday afternoon, where a judge released him from custody on a personal recognizance bond.

A federal arrest warrant contains pictures that investigators said shows Keller with a mob of people inside the Capitol on Jan. 6. He towers above most of the crowd and is seen wearing a USA Olympics jacket.

Keller is charged with obstructing law enforcement engaged in official duties incident to civil disorder, knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

Keller did not say much during the hearing, but did ask for permission to travel to North Carolina to visit his children. The judge said he would grant the request.

Swimming news site SwimSam first reported Keller’s appearance at the Capitol on Monday. 

Video of the insurrection appears to show a bearded, 6-foot-6-inch Keller inside the Capitol building Wednesday. He appears to be wearing an Olympic team jacket with “USA” printed on the back and sleeves.

According to the New York Times, several former teammates and coaches recognized Keller in the footage, and few were surprised by his presence at the riot. His now-deleted social media accounts included pro-Trump messages.

The 38-year-old medaled in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter freestyle and the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. He was a teammate of Olympian Michael Phelps. 

In a statement Wednesday Sarah Hirshland, the CEO of the U.S. Olympics, condemned the violence at the Capitol and said the rioters “do not represent the values of the United States of America or of Team USA.”

She said Team USA athletes “are held to a very high standard” and “what happened in Washington D.C. was a case where that standard was clearly not met.”

In a 2014 interview with NBC Sports, Keller said he regretted “being so focused on swimming.” 

“I should have put a lot more time into thinking about careers and what I was doing after swimming,” he said. 

“You get done, and you’re like, ‘Oh God, what do you do now?” 

He said he held some “bitterness” toward himself and toward the sport. 

The FBI is asking for the public’s help as it continues to investigate the people involved in Wednesday’s violent breach at the U.S. Capitol.  

On Twitter, The Washington Field Office said it is seeking information to “assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, DC.”

The agency is urging people who saw unlawful activity during the violent protests to submit information to them. The FBI has provided an online tips form.

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